Improving the sustainability and quality of life of the cities of Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean is the most urbanized developing region on the planet. More than 80% of its population lives in cities, which register half a million new residents each month. If this exponential growth trend continues, 100 million people will reside in only six megacities alone by 2025. This pace of urbanization presents daunting challenges for cities in the region (for instance, deficient housing), but also creates great opportunities for collaboration for those organizations that position themselves strategically to help solve these issues. 

At the Inter-American Development Bank, we strive to help Latin American and Caribbean cities address the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III), aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Our work includes an urban portfolio and a knowledge program focused on sustainability and climate change mainstreaming. In addition, from the Cities LAB we bet on urban experimentation, testing pilots to scale them. And with the Cities Network we socialize all the good practices and analytical knowledge generated.

Beyond cross cutting themes such as climate change, resilience, and gender equality, our operations in the IDB’s Housing and Urban Development Division are structured around four action areas:

  • urban infrastructure and services, including neighborhood upgrading;
  • housing;
  • habitat, public landscape, and heritage;
  • institutions, governance, and management.

* Source: Inter-American Development Bank. 2019. Sustainability Report 2018 

Cities Network

The IDB Cities Network is our platform for knowledge, relationships and solutions at the municipal level that aims to socialize knowledge, lessons learned and good practices in environmental, economic and social sustainability of more than 200 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. We promote institutional support, innovation, good practices and the exchange of knowledge between the public and private sector, civil society and academia to boost demand and capacities for urban loans and investments in cities.


Cities LAB

The IDB Cities LAB is our platform for innovation, design, and experimentation for the sustainable urban development in Latin America and the Caribbean. We lead innovative prototypes that arise from co-design processes between officials of the Inter-American Development Bank and local actors (community, academia, government); in which citizen participation is key. From these urban interventions, we evaluate the experiences, analyzing their success with the objective of sharing knowledge, expanding or replicating the implemented pilots.


At the Inter-American Development Bank, we have positioned ourselves at the forefront of knowledge generation, management and dissemination in the fields of housing and urban development. Through communities of practice, we foster dialogue and knowledge in emerging areas to solve urban problems in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our evidence-based research is conducted with a multisectoral approach under seven thematic groups:  

  • Governance and planning
  • Smart cities and civic data
  • Housing and habitat
  • Urban heritage
  • Urban people
  • Urban economics and finance
  • Resilience